A profile of Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett, and John Holliman, three men reporting from Baghdad

BERNARD SHAW, 50, does not back off from journalistic battle. As a moderator of the 1988 presidential debates, he pitched Michael Dukakis his most damaging question: Would he change his mind about the death penalty if wife Kitty were raped and killed? The same year he asked Dan Quayle whether he had avoided Vietnam because he feared dying in combat. Chinese authorities booted Shaw off the air during the Beijing student demonstrations in 1989. An ABC veteran and a CBS protege of Walter Cronkite (who telephoned him on the air during the siege of Baghdad), Shaw was advised as a kid growing up in the ’50s to give up his broadcasting ambitions because there were ”no black Murrows.” Now he has echoed Edward R. Murrow’s historic reportorial achievements during the London blitz in World War II.

PETER ARNETT, 56, is a New Zealander who spent 13 years in Vietnam, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage for the Associated Press in 1966. He is inexorably drawn to the world’s most troubled spots: Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis, El Salvador during the fighting of 1983, Moscow (where he was CNN’s bureau chief from 1986-88), and Baghdad, where he is, as this issue goes to press, the only Western correspondent still reporting from that city. Arnett is a war correspondent right out of an old movie: courageous, tersely eloquent, incisively intelligent. He may be the ideal reporter to have in Baghdad — even though he is now subject to Iraqi censorship.

JOHN HOLLIMAN, 43, a veteran of Georgia radio stations and the AP Radio Network, signed up with CNN at the very start, in 1980, when the international news desk consisted of a battered manila folder in the backseat of a producer’s car. He went on to cover the White House and Tianenmen Square. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he won a 1976 Peabody Award — the Pulitzer of TV — for a documentary he made before joining CNN, The Garden Plot: Food as a Weapon in International Diplomacy. ”He likes fireworks,” his wife told USA Today.